Archive for June, 2008

The aim of GrapeFACE and this blog


GrapeFACE is a concept that is being lead by a group of research intitutions in Australia (the University of Adelaide and the University of Melbourne among them) to understand the physiological and viticultural responses of grapevines to 21st century climate scenarios of elevated CO2 and temperature.


The purpose of this blog is to get feedback on the concept from researchers from around the world.

Contact: Dr Sigfredo Fuentes (University of Adelaide):


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What is GrapeFACE about?

Grapevine productivity, water use efficiency, phenology and pest and disease responses are likely to be impacted by climate change over the next 20 to 50 years. Over this time frame, more frequent  drought, high temperature events, elevated day and  night time temperature are all predicted scenarios. These climate scenarios are driven by elevated CO2  which will also have direct effects on vine physiology and viticultural outcomes. Recent reports of global carbon emissions indicate we can expect 450ppm by 2025 and 550 ppm by 2050 an effective doubling of pre-industrial  CO2   (Raupach et al 2007)


It is possible to artificially elevate CO2 concentration and night time temperature using various methodologies, each with different desirable and undesirable characteristics. A free-air CO2 enrichment facility (FACE) to create a microclimate similar to those predicted for the future is the best methodology.  FACE has shown that trees and shrubs are very responsive to elevated CO2 and it is likely that grapevines will fall into this category (Ainsworth and Long, 2005).An AGO workshop in Canberra in  May 2005 reached similar conclusions regarding the FACE methodology which resulted in the jointing funding(GRDC and AGO) and establishment by of a national FACE grains array at Horsham led by the University of Melbourne.  Preliminary work on grapevine productivity using a FACE in Italy has shown that such a system is feasible for grapevines (Bindi et al., 2001a; Bindi et al., 2001b), but these experiments have been discontinued.  More information is required for different varieties, over a longer term, and for many other aspects of grapevine performance relevant to Australian conditions, particularly in response to drought conditions and episodes of high temperature. Also there is increasing interest in understanding the greenhouse gas footprint of grapevine cultivation, and in this respect projects that investigate nitrogen use efficiency and NO2 emission and soil carbon sequestration are very important.

A facility that allows elevation of CO2 and temperature at reasonable running costs, with productivity monitoring and on-line monitoring of basic grapevine performance will allow other projects concerned with predicted climate change to utilise the facility.  Portable field chambers for elevation of day-time temperature are already being used by CSIRO and SARDI but do not have the capacity to provide episodes of high night time temperature. It would be worthwhile adding to these facilities with additional treatments and experimentation.  The facilities would also link in with a proposed global array of monitored vines and wines that is being proposed by UC Davis.  The climate scenario 2030 facility will become a focus for national and international collaborations. In addition there are likely to be other projects that would utilise the facility. 

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GrapeFACE Q1. Most important climate question

1) What do you think is the more important broad question with respect to climate change and wine grapevine responses?

a) What will be the impact of temperature (average, yearly patterns and extremes)?

b) What will be the impact of water shortage and water quality decline?

c) What will be the impact of increased carbon dioxide?

d) What will be the interactions of a,b,c?

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GrapeFACE Q2. Beneficial information to industry?

2) For the wine grape industry in terms of adaptation to climate change do the questions below align with potential beneficial information for industry? For all of the below assume that the full product chain would be examined, i.e. soil to glass.

a) What will be the impact of temperature (average, yearly patterns and extremes)?

b) What will be the impact of water shortage and water quality decline?

c) What will be the impact of increased carbon dioxide?

d) What will be the interactions of a,b,c?

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GrapeFACE Q3. Varietal responses to climate change

3) How important is it to examine varietal differences in responses to climate change? If considered important what varieties would you select if only two could be considered?

a) Shiraz and Grenache (reflecting extreme differences in water relations physiology)

b) Shiraz and Chardonnay (reflecting industry importance and covering a red and white variety)

c) Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir (or others reflecting a warm and cool preference varietal)

d) Others (please explain)

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GrapeFACE Q4. Options for investigation

4) Do you think we should scope other options for investigating the impacts of high CO2 and temperature? eg open top chambers, enclosed chambers, glasshouse?

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GrapeFACE Q5. Number of sites?

5) In the case of a possible grapeFACE facility, do you think it would be worthwhile undertaking the experiments in more than one site, taking into consideration that this would represent a potential doubling in cost and that FACE would need to be run for at least 5 years?

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